Low cost synthesis and evaluation of polymers prepared from oilseed rape and Euphorbia Lagascae oils


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 July 1995 - 30 June 1997
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
AHDB sector cost:
£61,580 from HGCA (project no 1505)
Project leader:
Dr Andrew Clark University of Warwick, Coventry, Warwickshire, CV4 7AL and Dr Richard Hignett and Professor Brain Keene Mid-Kent College, Horsted, Chatham, Kent, ME5 9UG



About this project


The high environmental burden caused by the use of non-renewable petrochemical-based feedstocks for the chemical and polymer industries has led to the search for vegetable oil-based alternatives. Despite this, only castor oil (a non-UK indigenous crop), has gained importance as a feedstock in the polyurethane industry. Polyurethanes are used globally on a scale of around 7 million tonnes a year and this is rising at a rate of about 1 million tonnes a year.

The main aims of this project were thus to widen industrial demand for agricultural oilseed derived products from UK sources, primarily by demonstrating that oils such as rapeseed can be used as chemical feedstocks to make polyurethanes and replace existing petrochemicals and castor oil. However, oils such as rapeseed do not contain the necessary chemical functionality (hydroxyl groups) required to be useful as polyurethane feedstocks and so it is necessary to introduce such functionality by low-cost chemical manipulation.